This user has not added any information to their profile yet.
Merissa’s mother often tells the story of how, almost every morning in a close-knit neighborhood of Southside Stockton, California, toddler Merissa would bolt out of the house to the driveway screaming ‘HELLO WORLD’ even if there was no one there to respond back. Anyone who truly knows her will attest that even today, Merissa’s enthusiasm has not wavered.
It’s not that life has provided her a smooth, comfortable existence void of struggle or hardship; being a gay woman of color from a working-class family is not a simple life anywhere in modern America. But rather, Merissa has taken these life experiences and transformed them into her art: music.
First picking up a used student trombone in her middle school band room, Merissa has now been playing her primary instrument for over 13 years. Her natural talent and consistent dedication led her to Orange County after high school, where she studied music at Fullerton College. In 2013, Merissa moved 3,000 miles from home to Boston, Massachusetts, to attend her dream institution, Berklee College of Music, where she would study film scoring, jazz performance, and composition. She graduated 3 years later with a Bachelor of Music with several accomplishments already under her belt: playing trombone on Grammy-Award Winning artist Terri Lyne Carrington’s The Mosaic Project: Love and Soul album; studying composition under the renowned musicians & composers Dr. Marti Epstein, Willie Murillo, and Dr. Bruce Miller; composing a string quartet in Greece for the Berklee International Composers Institute; interning for composer John Paesano (The Maze Runner); and leading a life of social justice activism as a former Delegate of the 17th Assembly District of the California Democratic Party with a published essay in the Harvard Educational Review Summer 2009 Issue titled A Moment that Inspired a Lifetime, describing how the 2008 Presidential Election of Barack Obama gave tremendous hope to a whole generation of youth voices.
With a love and passion for both music and activism, Merissa’s soul is fueled with the drive to be the change she wishes to see in the world through her music. Merissa composes music for film with a focus on the drama of the plot and the complexities of each character's personal development. She composes with a determined passion to give every drama actor’s tear a staring scene and every horror-movie goer’s body enough of a jump to knock their popcorn out of their hand. She composes music that stays with viewers after they leave the comfort of a dark theater.
Merissa’s need for meaningful soundtracks is equal to her need for change in the community. Growing up a lesbian Filipina-American with a love and passion for music means growing up frustrated. Frustrated by not seeing a single composer represent you – the lack of people of color and women in the industry is astounding. She is, however, not one to sit back idly and accept a daily injustice, and instead takes every step to succeed in the world of arts; to be someone that girls from all walks of life can look up to.
Merissa is as passionate about her music as she is about changing the world, always ready to work with new and familiar people and always ready to take on a challenge.